Dir: Amos Kollek. Israel/ Canada/ Germany/ France/ Belgium, 2007. 100 mins.
Back home in Israel after many years of self-imposed exile in Manhattan, Amos Kollek presents Restless as his most personal film to date. With a reputation as an American independent specializing in portraits of anti-social dropouts, he has apparently decided to turn the camera on himself this time.
His protagonist, Moshe Amar (played by Israel's best known film actor, Moshe Ivgi) is living out a bitter, self-destructive, depressed and often drunken existence in the back alleys of downtown New York when his past catches up with him in the shape of his estranged son Tzach (Danker)
Tzach calls to tell him his wife, whom he left behind in Israel 20 odd years ago, has just died. Following two parallel lines that ultimately converge, the father in New York and the son in Israel painfully pick up their relationship as they gradually begin to accept who they are
With the same gritty atmosphere as his New York films, often typically blending pathos with black humor, Kollek's film will most probably be read at home as a self-portrait of the artist struggling to come to terms with the formidable shadow thrown by his father (Teddy Kollek, the late mayor of Jerusalem and one of Israel's outstanding political figures, who died last year). The mostly unflattering portrait of Israelis abroad will also register mainly at home.
For those who are unaware of Kollek's own history, Restless offers yet another perspective on the plight of the emigre, living far away and dreaming of home, but unwilling to go back for their own personal reasons. As such, it could easily find its way into festivals, thematic film events and art house circuits which have already shown their affection for Kollek's films in the past
Amar (Ivgy), a Bukovsky-like angry poet of the sewers, has a hard time surviving on the streets of New York. He drinks himself into oblivion, his attempts to court a bartender, Yolanda (Young), are coldly turned down by the tough, middle aged, former Army sergeant, and has to be practically blackmailed into going back on stage to perform, insulting his audience in unchained, offensive monologues, blending Hebrew and English in equal parts.
The shock of his wife's death is finally enough to pull him out of his self-pity, when his equally troubled son crosses the Atlantic to meet his father for the first time in his life. The son, Tzach (the meaning of the word in Hebrew is 'pure') is a sniper in the Israeli Army, released after having accidentally shot a young boy
Of the two parallel lines, the plot distinctly favors the American segments over the Israeli ones. Virginie Saint-Martin's fluid camera provides an authentic background for Ivgy's restless performance; nervous, frustrated, self-pitying and despondent at the same time. Danker's part is less well-defined. Phylis Sommerville and Arnon Tzadok, the first representing the serenity of old age, the second as a corrupt former Israeli officer turned arms dealer, add some more color to this intricate piece, whose individual components play often better on their own then they do as a whole
Hamon Hafakot, Pie Films - Israel
Amerique Film - Canada
Twenty Twenty Vision - Germany
Liaison Cinematographique - France
Paradise Films -Belgium.
In association with Entre Chien et Loup (Belgium)
Bavaria Films International
00-49 89 64992686
Virginie Saint Martin